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Tom Crean’s Lifesaving Solo Trek

Tom Crean's Lifesaving Solo Trek Tom Crean Book

On 19th February 1912, at 3:30am, an exhausted, shivering, lone figure entered Hut Point in Antarctica.

After undertaking a solo trek through soft snow without skis in a journey he’d commenced the previous day, the man had just completed a 35-mile journey on meagre rations of two biscuits and a stick of chocolate. Through vicious Antarctic winds, he’d trudged for 18 hours under the most hazardous and extreme conditions on our planet.

In what has to be considered the finest feat of individual heroism during the entire age of Antarctic exploration,” Tom Crean’s extraordinary powers of endurance had proved vital in saving the life of Scott’s second in command, Lieutenant Edward Evans yet this was only part of this heroic tale.

Crean and his colleague, Bill Lashly, had kept their senior officer alive after an 800-mile return journey they embarked upon after Scott had chosen four others on the final 150-mile push to the South Pole.

At one point, Evans, who had contracted scurvy and was close to death, ordered the two men to go on without him yet they were having none of it. He later said “it was the first time he was happy that his orders had been disobeyed”

Recalling their harrowing ordeal while delivering a lecture to a packed Carnegie Hall in New York on St Patrick’s Day 1914, Evans told his audience:

“When I begged them to leave me, it was Crean who, speaking for both, turned and said to me, ‘If you are to go out sir, then we’ll all go out together.”

Evans, who went on to become an Admiral, never forgot the two men he owed his life to, expressing his love for them and stating, ‘they had the Hearts of Lions’

In a corner of Ballinacourty on the outskirts of Anascaul lies Tom Crean’s grave and on top of the stone tomb he had himself built, sits a wreath of porcelain flowers in a glass bowl sent by his former Terra Nova colleague Robert Forde at the request of Admiral Evans. It was delivered in a Rolls Royce on the day of Tom Crean’s funeral in 1938.

Some years ago on a visit to Annascaul the son of Edward Evans, the late, Broke Evans, put it quite simply saying “if it wasn’t for Tom Crean, I wouldn’t be here”.

In an emotive Foreword written for the book, Evans’ grandson, Julian Evans, paid the highest of tributes to the man, whose lifesaving solo trek saved his grandfather, saying;

“he assured my very existence,………..Tom Crean is one of those human beings whose life and deeds are an icon and an inspiration, not just to the individual, not just to Ireland, but to the world”

To read Tom Crean’s full story the book can be purchased at the following link.

Biography of Tom Crean – Crean – The Extraordinary Life of an Irish Hero